Warm spinach salad with shiitakes is rich with savory, smokey flavors

Spinach Salad With Smoky Shiitakes and Warm Vinaigrette

Total time:25 mins

Servings:4

Total time:25 mins

Servings:4

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It’s a texture thing that makes me finicky about mushrooms. I’m always drawn in by their savory flavor and their wealth of nutrients, including potassium, B vitamins and a multitude of health-protective compounds. But some mushrooms can be so darn squishy and spongy.

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Not shiitakes, though. They are dense and relatively low-moisture, so when their caps are sliced ​​and roasted or sauteed in a bit of oil they become enticingly chewy and crisp. (Their stems are tough, so it’s best to remove them.) In fact, shiitakes crisp up so well, and their flavor is so meaty, that when kissed with a bit of smoky flavor, they taste a lot like bacon. Seriously, my husband thought he was eating bacon when he was nibbling on a bowl of them I cooked up recently, and it took a minute to convince him otherwise. This recipe capitalizes on that quality, letting the mushrooms do the job of what would typically be bacon in a classic spinach salad with warm vinaigrette.

Along with sauteed shiitakes, sun-dried tomatoes add savory flavor two ways in this salad. The tomatoes are soaked to plump them, so once sliced, they add a soft chewiness to the mix, and their flavorful soaking liquid is later integrated into the dressing, contributing savory-sweet depth.

With fresh spinach leaves, sliced ​​red onions and the sliced ​​sun-dried tomatoes tossed together and standing by in a big bowl, the mushrooms are sauteed until brown and crispy, then sprinkled with smoked paprika and added to the bowl with the rest of the vegetables . Then, the dressing is made by adding the sun-dried tomato liquid to the skillet, where it is reduced a bit before red wine vinegar, mustard, a drizzle of honey and olive oil are whisked in and warmed.

Once the warm dressing is poured over the salad, the spinach yields just enough to lose its raw edge, relaxing its leaves as if they just took a deep, calming breath. Served topped with slices of hard-cooked egg (or just about any protein you like) it is a complete meal that’s packed with savory, smoky flavor and all the best textures, with healthy shiitake mushrooms leading the way.

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  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced ​​(optional)

In a small bowl, cover the sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water and soak for 10 minutes.

While the tomatoes are soaking, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the mushrooms, season with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are well browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with the paprika and toss to coat.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board and thinly slice; reserve the soaking liquid.

In a large bowl, toss together the sliced ​​tomatoes, spinach and onions to combine. Transfer the warm mushrooms to the bowl with the vegetables.

Return the skillet to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved sun-dried tomato soaking liquid. Most of the liquid will evaporate quickly in the hot pan — you should wind up with about 1 tablespoon of liquid. (If there’s not enough liquid in the pan, can add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of the remaining liquid. And if there’s more than about 1 tablespoon of liquid in the pan, reduce for about 2 minutes.) Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the vinegar, mustard, honey and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, whisking to combine. When the dressing is warmed through and uniform, pour it over the spinach salad and toss to coat.

Divide the salad among bowls, top with sliced ​​eggs, if using, and serve.

Per serving (2 1/2 cups salad and 1 egg)

Calories: 249; Total Fat: 19 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 187 mg; Sodium: 521 mg; Carbohydrates: 11 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugar: 4 g; Protein: 10 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From cookbook author and registered nutritionist Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Olga Massov; email questions to [email protected].

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